August Green Drinks!

Green Drinks is a chance to network, share news, and hear updates about sustainability projects and upcoming events. Everyone is welcome to attend.This month’s event is Friday, August 31rst, 7pm–8:30pm at RevelationsTalking points will begin at 7:30pm and include
*Presentation of the Local Rockstar award to August’s winner, Lonnie Gamble
*An introduction to Macro7, an innovative new website designed to support knowledge sharing and incubate projects and non-profits

*Fairfield Volunteer Center’s latest project

Lonnie Gamble, Local Rockstar
EcoFairfield Green Drinks takes place the last Friday of every month in a Fairfield restaurant. Talking points presentations start at 7:30pm and finish before 8pm, allowing plenty of time for discussion, networking, and enjoying drinks or food. If you would like to suggest a restaurant location or talking points for the next Green Drinks event, please e-mail

The Hometown Rewards Program

Taken from the Fairfield GoGreen Website, edited by us:

When you save energy, everybody wins. And now there’s one more reason to do so – Alliant Energy’s Hometown Rewards program.

The City of Fairfield was selected to participate in a two-year partnership with Interstate Power and Light Company, an Alliant Energy company, through its Hometown Rewards grant program.

This program rewards Fairfield for reducing citywide energy usage either by adopting energy-efficient behaviors (turning off lights, unplugging unused electronics, etc.) or investing in energy-efficient upgrades (like compact fluorescent light bulbs, new insulation, etc.). If Fairfield successfully meets its goals, Alliant Energy will give the community a reward.

What kind of reward are we talking about? One picked by the sustainability leaders in Fairfield – new solar panels for a city building.

The purpose of the Hometown Rewards Program in Fairfield is to focus on energy efficiency and conservation goals outlined in the City’s strategic Go Green Plan through grass-roots community efforts. Hometown Rewards goals in Fairfield include:

  • Save residents 5,059,288 kWh in electricity and natural gas equivalent (that’s $540,000 in energy costs)
  • Offer free educational workshops relevant to all sectors of the City
  • Engage at least 50% of Fairfield residents in this program

*You can see all of the program’s goals and strategies here.

The Hometown Rewards Program builds upon the energy initiatives outlined in the Plan by identifying the community’s energy use today, setting goals for improvement, implementing strategies and measuring the results.

The goals were outlined during a 3 month process by the program’s steering committee. Committee members include Mayor Malloy, Kari Bedi, Anna Bruen, Jeff Clawson, Bob Ferguson, Michael Halley, Daryn Hamilton, Joel Hirshberg, Molly Martlin, Fred McElwee, John Revolinski, Lonnie Gamble, Scott Timm, Roger Vorhies, and Alliant Energy representatives Laurie Appleget and Robin Sempf.

An outside consulting firm, Sebesta-Blomberg will measure progress towards the goals and metrics until the end of 2013.

So what’s next?

“Dig In, Fairfield” the Hometown Rewards Program kick-off event, is happening on Earth Day, April 22nd. We’ll be planting a community orchard just outside of Chautauqua Park along the trail system and then have a free BBQ dinner (catering to most dietary needs) provided by Hy-Vee, and entertainment by the Jefferson County Green Band. Also, that weekend FMS, Washington Elementary, MSAE, and Singing Cedars School will be planting trees for energy efficiency; and the public parking lot on B and Broadway will receive shade trees. We’d love to see you anytime on Sunday and encourage you to sign up through the Fairfield Volunteer Center to help volunteer, but of course you are welcome to show up anytime. At the event, we’ll be hosting the president of Trees Forever, representatives from Alliant Energy, as well as Congressman Loebsack, Senator Chelgren, and Representative Hanson.

Local designers and screen-printers designed the Dig In logo and t-shirts. was re-designed to highlight the Hometown Rewards Program. On the website you can learn about the program, find opportunities to participate, and track progress towards the program goals. We’re also on Facebook!

You’ll start hearing about the Hometown Rewards Program and Dig In event on radio stations. You’ll also be seeing posters and door hangers for the Dig In event around town!

EcoFairfield, Alliant Energy, City of Fairfield, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield Volunteer Center,  Iowa State University, 100.1 FM KRUU, Trees Forever, HyVee, Ideal Energy, Danaher Oil, Everybody’s Whole Foods Store, and The Global ID Group help turn the Hometown Rewards Program a success in Fairfield. Thanks to EcoFairfield and other partners, Fairfield’s Hometown Rewards Program can offer fun, exciting and educational events; all of the educational workshops will be free of charge; and projects begun as part of the Hometown Rewards Program will have solid maintenance plans to ensure their continued success.

Serve. Connect. Inspire.

The Hometown Rewards Program really depends on community effort. Join us to end the EcoFairfield Earth Day weekend with a bang! RSVP here or here if you’re a student: Let’s plant some trees!

EcoFairfield 2012 Team
Because our locals are awesome!

The ‘Transcending Sustainability’ Conference

Invitation to the Transcending Sustainability conference
by Lonnie Gamble.

Lonnie is curriculum director and founding faculty member in the Sustainable Living Program at Maharishi University of Management. He’s a member of the organizing team for the Transcending Sustainability conference in Fairfield, Iowa May 31 – June 3 2012.

From Lonnie’s fb page:
The Transcending Sustainability conference is a project of the New Academy for Sustainability. Sponsors include Centerpoint Financial, the St Mary’s/ Bonnell Project, the City of Fairfield Sustainability Office, The Sustainable Living Department at Maharishi University of Management, the Sustainable Living Coalition, and the kind generosity of many other institutions and individuals.

Why should you consider attending the Transcending Sustainability
Conference? Why should you invest $95 ($50 if you’re a student) and four days of your life in stimulating conversations with like-minded people in Fairfield, Iowa this summer?
In general, the Summer Institute will give you an opportunity to help take sustainability to the “next level” — including in your own professional and personal life. There are no “gurus” of sustainability; the movement emerged from concerns of people from all walks of life and is being driven forward by people from all walks of life. No one is more important or more essential to its success than is anyone else. The sustainability movement is the co-creation of an otherwise diverse, dispersed groups of like-minded people. Our ultimate success depends of everyone doing their part. Participating in the Summer Institute may well give you an opportunity to do your part in taking the movement to the “next level.”

Here are a few more specific reasons for attending the Summer Institute:
To gain a deeper and fuller understanding of “authentic” sustainability as distinct from sustainability initiatives of most corporations and public institutions
To finally cut through the confusion, intentional and unintentional, regarding definitions of sustainability
To understand and be able to explain the differences between economic, social, and ethical values and understand why social and ethical values are essential for sustainability.
To cultivate the art and science of thinking within a worldview of the economy as a part of society and society as a part of nature
To come to the realization that for those of us in the developed world the “economic problem” has been solved so now we can turn to the permanent problem of learning to live “wisely, agreeably, and well.

The setting for the summer institute will be our very own vibrant small town in the American Midwest: Fairfield, IA. Fairfield exemplifies progressive communities that are confronting the challenges of sustainability and realizing the opportunities beyond.

Here’s what Lonnie has to say about EcoFairfield: “This year’s ecofair looks better than ever, and will take place all over town rather than only at MUM. Congrats to all the student organizers.”  Thank you! The Transcending Sustainability Conference looks rockin’ as well.

Like their  fb page here: RSVP to the event here:

EcoFairfield 2012
Serve. Connect. Inspire.
Because our locals are awesome!

Community Tree Planting

Earth Day weekend this year is promising to be one to remember in Fairfield, as the ECOFAIRFIELD planning team is establishing partnerships for events in the community, one partnership has come together to plant upwards of 300 6-foot trees around the community. The funding for this project is available through a grant from Alliant Energy, which awarded the City of Fairfield $7,500 to plant trees for energy efficiency. The trees will be a mix of fruiting and edible varieties as well as non-edibles.

Serve. Connect. Inspire.

Planting sites include:
• Portion of trail near Chataqua Park (confirmed)
• Maharishi School (confirmed)
• Singing Cedars School (confirmed)

In negotiation:
• Fairfield public schools
• Portion of trail near Sky Factory
• Hospital
• Parking lot on Broadway ave.
• Wastewater treatment plant

A group of 15 people (myself included) met at the Library recently to discuss planning details and discern our plan of action. Representatives in the group included people from the local schools, the “Trees Forever” organization, the city’s sustainability coordinator Scott Tim, Sierra Club representatives, and others.
My personal involvement stems from my original initiative to organize a “Day of Service” in the community on the afternoon of 4/20, the official start-day of ECOFAIRFIELD. My vision was to invite Fairfield Public Schools  students, MSAE students, and MUM students to volunteer together around the community on Friday afternoon. It looks like that will happen, and the energy will go toward planting trees! But now, instead of 1 afternoon on Friday, tree-planting volunteers will be needed throughout the weekend. The final site selections, timing and other details are TBA.

We are looking for people familiar with ecology or tree planting to serve as group leaders at various sites. If you are interested in participating in any part of this weekend-long event and you are a student please contact me, James, at If you are not a student and you are interested, please contact the Fairfield Volunteer Center: Phone number:           641-209-9045 Email address:

United in Service,
James Schleppenbach
EcoFairfield 2012 team
Serve. Connect. Inspire.
Because our locals are awesome!

Meet the team Part 1

The EcoFairfield team has a varied background, but the most important common denominator across the team is our passion for sustainability and our love for the Fairfield community. We are all happy volunteers that enjoy meeting weekly, sharing ideas, collaborating, working hard, and even arguing, to bring you the best possible Earth-Day weekend event. Get to know some of us here:

The Planter

Meet James Schleppenbach. He is a transfer-student from Christopher Newport University in Virginia, born and raised in Dunellen, New Jersey, currently in his 3rd semester at MUM studying Sustainable Living with an emphasis in sustainable agriculture. He first got involved with EcoFairfield last summer after being elected Sustainable Council President for MUM’s Global Student Council. No longer President, he is still involved with EcoFairfield as student representative coordinating Day of Service and a tree planting project as part of the Hometown Rewards Program for the City of Fairfield. He enjoys making great food, making great compost, and spending time with people who appreciate life.

Minca Borg
The Connector

Minca Borg is a Sustainable Living student originally from California, though she considers Fairfield, IA, to be her hometown. She is coordinator, and most of times meeting-facilitator, for EcoFairfield: Serve, Connect, Inspire; Student Council representative; and Resident Adviser at MUM.  In her words:  “My first year at MUM, I asked a senior how to get things done.  She said, ‘Be a Connector.’  So I am.  It seems to be an effective strategy for every aspect of my life.  I am here to help you connect with you interests, passions, goals and community.”   Minca’s interests include: Human, Organizational, and Social Development; Community Building; Gardening; Writing; Nature walks in all-weather; Math; Community Service; Why & How. She watches House when she can and likes to listen to Cat Stevens.

David Fisher
The Overseer

David Fisher is primarily a botanist. He received a B.S. in Biology from North Carolina State University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Wisconsin. He then served as a research scientist at the USDA Forest Experiment Station in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, and was a Humboldt fellow at the University of Göttingen, Germany. Prior to joining MUM faculty, he was a professor and researcher in leaf structure-function relationships for six years at the University of Hawaii. His research at MUM on breeding potatoes for resistance to the Colorado potato beetle has been supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Leopold Institute for Sustainable Agriculture. He is the founder and Director of the Sustainable Living program at MUM and has been the primary advocate for the design and construction of the new Sustainable Living Center. Otherwise, his pursuits are reading, playing basketball, vegetable gardening, tree climbing, and bicycling around the Fairfield Loop Trail.

More profiles coming soon. Have a great week and thanks for reading!

EcoFairfield 2012 team
Serve. Connect. Inspire.
Because our locals are awesome!

Green Drinks Event

The EcoFairfield team invites all interested in environmental issues to an evening of green drinks, good food, good people, and hopefully a good tune or two.
Green Drinks events are very simple and unstructured, but many people have found employment, made friends, developed new ideas, done deals and had moments of serendipity.
Green Drinks have a lively mixture of people from NGOs, academia, government and business. Come along and you’ll be made welcome. Just say, “are you green?” and we will look after you and introduce you to whoever is there. It’s a great way of catching up with people you know and also for making new contacts. Everyone invites someone else along, so there’s always a different crowd, making Green Drinks an organic, self-organising network.

We hope you can accompany us for fun and networking this Friday, February 24, at Arandas’ Mexican Restaurant. Time: 6:30pm-9:30pm
Please RSVP here:

The Code:

Green Drinks are Open

* Green Drinks is mostly for people working on environmental issues, but anyone can come — people from environment groups, business, government, academia and as individuals. There is no ‘us and them’.
* Organisers and all attendees actively welcome newcomers and introduce them to others in the group.
* All attendees commit to meeting new people at every session and not just sticking with people they already know.

Green Drinks are Freeform

* There is generally no agenda or theme, Green Drinkers mingle and share insights and provoke and exasparate and inspire and delight each other. There are moments of serendipity and a lot of ‘oh, you if are interested in X then I must introduce you to that person over there who knows all about it’ …
* All kinds of people come to Green Drinks and this is what makes for the interesting interactions.

Read the rest here: 

See you Friday!

EcoFairfield 2012 team
Serve. Connect. Inspire.
Because our locals are awesome!

Green economy: does it include you?

In honor of World Environment Day, in honor of EcoFairfield, and in hopes of winning a trip to Brazil this summer (yay!) for the annual WED conference organized by the United Nations Environment Programme since 1972, today I blog about the theme of the conference this year: Green Economy. Does it include you?
World Environment Day -June 5th-The Green Economy is a fuzzy and complex concept. My definition of it includes triple-bottom-line businesses, cooperatives, private industries, non-profits, and charities; political reform (revolution?), fair-trade and global markets; as well as timebanks, volunteerism, barter, and gifting circles; women’s empowerment, agroecological practices, and renewable energy technologies.

EcoFairfield 2012

But more than these elements, vital to a green economy is a shift in thinking and understanding how things influence one another within a dynamic whole, and then prioritizing accordingly. The Green Economy is not a one-size fits all solution but many different solutions applied appropriately. The Green Economy is not one ideology but the healthy balance of many.
To paraphrase Michelle Long, instead of a global village, a Green Economy is a globe of strong, healthy interconnected villages.
What we have today is a global village in which a country’s Gross Domestic Product is considered
by most to be the only indicator of standard of living. GDP’s focus is Market Value a.k.a. Money. It ignores income disparities and depletion and degradation of natural resources. It counts your parent’s divorce, hurricane Katrina, and the alarming rate at which we are losing our soils as “gains”.

Contrast this scenario with a globe in which nations strive to boost Gross National Happiness which measures factors conducive to happiness. Here, in this world, you are guaranteed care when you fall ill, and proper education, here mothers won’t die from childbirth if preventable, and you won’t go hungry. GNH is even a useful comparative indicator; research supports the notion that markers of individual and social well-being are remarkably trans-cultural. Pinker likes to say that because we are all relatives, it’s not all relative.

And though I celebrate globalism, I acknowledge unchecked globalization is seriously un-sexy. Ignoring labor rights, human rights, and damages to the environment in international agreements leads to a world of corporate hegemony. A tricky balance needs to be resolved between globalism and localism. Imo more localization is needed. Localizing efforts lead to diverse, harder, better, faster, stronger villages and communities.
As Fairfieldians would say: there is unity in diversity.
So does the green economy include you?
Only you can say and somehow you already have the answer. Are you interested in seeing your town flourish in every way imaginable? More specifically, do you want to see more and better movies offered at the local movie theatre? Top that how about watching locally directed and produced media? Have you ever wanted to be an actor? Are you a videographer? photographer? screen writer? Think about all the new gigs that would be available, now multiply that to include every industry!
Also, what is that small business idea that whispers to you while you try to sleep? And to speak about food, aren’t the veggies and fruits from the farmer’s market just oh so ripe and delicious!? Ever thought about growing your own? Wouldn’t it be fun to manage a community garden along with your neighbors? And exchange seeds? And have potluck parties?
The questions are endless. But the main one still is: Does it include you? You with your valid worries and problems; ambitions, needs and responsibilities; and a set way of doing things: Does this so-called Green Economy include you?
I bet the better question ought to be:
Do you want to be left out?
EcoFairfield 2012
Serve. Connect. Inspire.
Because our locals are awesome!
Fabiola Domenique
WordPress off
Further Reading
 UN International Year of Cooperatives
And if you are curious here are the contest guidelines: